Roles: My main roles was during the early conceptualization part, when I came up with the chosen concept, and during the development part, when I helped to solve each detail of the product.
I didn't take any part in the 3d modeling
For: Done for Alpina during a master at Elisava school
Duration: 5 months
Awards: First prize on the Ei! awards professional edition. An award given to the best projects among all the masters from Elisava.
Alpina is a company part of the catalan group Esportiva Aksa. It was founded in 1926 and today is seen in the spanish market as a traditional mountaineering backpack producer although it's having problems to get popular among the younger people since the market is full of options.
Alpina's backpacks are generic ones. This means that can be used in many different situations. In this market, it has to compete with big companies such as Decathlon, Deuter and The north face that have competitive prices and invest a lot in innovation.
Smaler companies are trying to find more specialized niches. Above it's posible to see backpacks specific for climbing, for trail running and even for dogs.
We decided that we should look for a niche that Alpina could explore.
After some research, we found out that there was a big opportunity for Alpina in the firefighters market. Firemen work in many different situations and with a lot of different equipments.
There are around 20 thousand firemen in Spain. They are divided in four groups: GRAE, GREIM, GEM and Agentes forestales.
The charts above show the percentage of actuations of firefighters in the mountain. There is a big rising of these kind of actuations in the past few years.
These are some of the companies that design backpacks and other equipments for firefighters. This market is much less explored than the sports market.
We did two personal interviews and a few interviews by email. In this interviews we got a lot of information on equipments and more specifically on the backpacks that are used by firemen and their problems.
We also realised the potential that this idea could have not only for firefighters but for the casual user as well and decided to take them in consideration in our development.
We defined three themes that should be further developted to acomplish a good product. The backpack's body, the fits and the accessories for the backpack.
Research on possible shapes for the external shell and the back part of the backpack.
It was decided that the equipments should be fixed in the backpack using straps. Above are ideas of fits to hold these straps.
Above there are some ideas of accessories that could be developted to use with the backpack. We thought about two sizes of compartments that could be used to store clothes, gadgets and etc. We also thought about containers for bottles and ways to take mountaineering accessories. All would be fixed with straps to the main body.
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to include these ideas in the final presentation.
1- ABS skin
2- ABS panel
3- Elastomer part
4- Padded part
Process of fixing the fit in the backpack's body. Done in PPS, each fit supports up to 30 kg.
Specifically for firefighters, we designed a special support for hoses that can stand up to 40 kg and shows the possibility of accessories that could be designed for Nimble.
I personally see Nimble as the first open design backpack in the world. Other companies could design their own fits to pin their own products on the backpack. The possibility of objects that could be taken in Nimble is infinite.
Also, people could design their own fits, print it and use it with nimble. This is exactly what we did.
Property of the designers Joan Niubó, Fernando Montero, Eduard Carulla and Alan Niski
Our project was nominated for the Ei! professional edition award. An award given to the best projects from all the masters at Elisava. In july the winners will be announced and in october all the nominated projects will be part of an exhibition inside Elisava.
We decided to further developt Nimble and make a working prototype to present in the award.
First of all we printed three options of backpacks with different sizes to get the best proportions. Then we printed the holes and arrenged them in the most functional way.
The main volume of the backpack was made with a foam milled by a CNC. To make the prototype functional, we made 27 holes in the foam to implant 27 3D printed pieces for fixing the fits. When everything was assembled we fiberglassed and painted it.
The elastomer and padded part were laser cutted and sewn toguether.
At last we glued everything toguether with contact adhesive.
We got two insights from the interviews:
The first one is that during actuations, it's common to lose or to break the equipment.
The second one is related to carrying the hose. The existing backpacks are impractical to acces and to store the hose when the work is finished.